“Education is not the filling of pail, but the lighting of fire,” according to William Butler Yeats, considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. However, after a few centuries, it would seem that the educational system is losing its fire. Fewer students feel the need to undergo formal education simply because of the success stories shared by college dropouts who succeeded in various fields without it. Others prefer to be homeschooled to receive customized and focused learning at the comfort of their homes. Some lose the drive because they are unable to see the school pick up the pace based on modern learner’s interest. Of course, traditional education cannot be placed in total blame for its reduced effectiveness. It may be because of the evolving needs of the learners. It may be because of the fast-paced environment. It may be due to the emergence of technology. Whichever the reason is, it is clear that the fire must be lit again. Otherwise, more and more learners will lose the will and the motivation to learn.
How can the fire be lit once more? The students of today were born in the digital age, and as the song goes, the best way to fight the fire is with fire. Since today’s learners were brought upon a world with technology advancing consistently, educators and the educational system must employ the use of advanced technology to “lighten” up the classroom environment to one that is more fitting to its learners.
How can education be approached with technology? There are various ways that new technology can be used in teaching Generation Z. This article lists down the trends in education technology that could motivate, not just the learners, but also the teachers.
- Tailored Learning. Traditional teaching requires students to sit in at the same lesson in the hopes that they will learn at the same time. However, students learn differently, whether it be in the way they learn or in the timing of their learning. Tailored learning allows the students to learn at their own pace and at their own style. With the use of technology, activities can be tailor-fitted to each student. This is an effective approach to keep them interested and to lessen the pressure of learning with others. Students can also learn at the comfort of their homes. Need-based learning enables them to learn wherever they want to, anywhere.
- Cloud Computing. The era of saving data through a flash drive and requiring large computer storage space is gone, with the cloud computing technology. Data loss is also less occurrent through the help of this technology. Educational materials can be stored in the cloud, a virtual storage space, and can be accessed by anyone all over the world. This enables virtual learning or distance learning to be more convenient and effective.
- Machine learning and Learning Analytics. Evaluation can be done real-time, and lessons can be adjusted accordingly with the help of machine learning and learning analytics. Learners and their needs can be analyzed using data obtained from assessments. Artificial intelligence in machines can also program algorithms to customize learning. Learner’s behavior can also be predicted based on past data. This way, achievement and learning outcomes can be easily assessed more objectively.
- Augmented and Virtual Reality. Teachers can now provide the best demonstration and the most realistic experience in the classroom through augmented and virtual reality. Abstract and unimaginable concepts, especially in science, can be made visible and interactive through the advanced VR technology. This technology also gives the students hands-on experiences without the need for tangible resources. For example, frog dissection can easily be performed without the need to paralyze an actual frog. Field trips can also be done through VR as an alternative to a zoo visit.
- Speech-to-text Technology. Note-taking and research have gotten easier with the speech-to-text technology incorporated in modern gadgets and devices. Students can dictate their devices to search for information and can command it to take down notes for them. Teachers can do the same when recording student data. This saves both students’ and teachers’ time and provides more room for other classroom activities.
- Lesson gamification. Gamification, when done in the right mix and in the most lesson-suited manner, can increase classroom engagement and boost interaction in the classroom. Blended learning, a learning that involves both discussion and technology activities, can be made more effective in creating a fun environment if the technology will be used for play. This can be done through the use of cloud-based games and augmented reality activities, or simply, through utilizing available device apps and website in introducing games in the classroom.
In a world where technology is a part of the everyday life of our youth, educators must keep up. Fire can be lit once more with the aide of today’s educational technology.